There is much to be gained from reading nonfiction

Business books and magazines are great, but there is as much or more to be gained from reading nonfiction. There is a certain education and situational knowledge that comes along with being widely read. You run into a lot of ideas, a lot of concepts, and you find a lot of connections.

 Anthony Iannarino

Quote – defeats in life happen

I never thought about losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. . .. We all have to take defeats in life.

— Muhammad Ali

Quote – A reader lives a thousand lives

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.

-– George R.R. Martin

Quote – They may just be little things

I try to do the right thing at the right time. They may just be little things, but usually, they make the difference between winning and losing.

— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Quote – strong, effective writing is concise

Vigorous [strong, effective] writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.

— William Strunk, Jr.

Poetry – THE STREAM

I know a stream
Than which no lovelier flows.
Its banks a-gleam
With yarrow and wild rose,
Singing it goes
And shining through my dream.

Its waters glide
Beneath the basking noon,
A magic tide
That keeps perpetual June.

There the light sleeps
Unstirred by any storm;
The wild mouse creeps
Through tall weeds hushed and warm;
And the shy snipe,
Alighting unafraid;
With sudden pipe
Awakes the dreaming shade.

So long ago!
Still, still my memory hears
Its silver flow
Across the sundering years,—
Its roses glow,
Ah, through what longing tears!

— Charles G. D. Roberts

Poetry – WHEN THE CLOUD COMES DOWN THE MOUNTAIN

When the cloud comes down the mountain,
And the rain is loud on the leaves,
And the slim flies gather for shelter
Under my cabin eaves,

Then my heart goes out to earth,
With the swollen brook runs free,
Drinks life with the drenched brown roots,
And climbs with the sap in the tree.

— Charles G. D. Roberts

Quote – it’s foolish to crow

The moral is clear: The wisest folks know That it’s so nice to win, but it’s foolish to crow.

— Aesop, Greek writer

Poetry – A Smile

Let others cheer the winning man,
There’s one I hold worthwhile;
Tis he who does the best he can,
Then loses with a smile.

— anonymous poem, found in The Book o Virtues, ed. by W. J. Bennett

Quote – You never conquer a mountain

You never conquer a mountain. You stand on the summit a few moments; then the wind blows your footprints away.

— Arlene Blum, US mountain climber

O TO BE AN OSTRICH

O TO BE AN OSTRICH

The ostrich
like Shakespeare
believes there is nothing
good or bad
but thinking
makes it so.

All problems
he has found
by taking his head
out of the ground
and looking
for them.

The solving
obviously
is a matter of foot
going faster than thought
to avoid
being caught.

Such logic
of conscience
may well be envied—
for who can dispute
what can not be questioned
or proved?

— Elizabeth Bartlett

THE POPLAR FIELD

The poplars are fell’d, farewell to the shade
And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade;
The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives.

Twelve years have elapsed since I last took a view
Of my favorite field, and the bank where they grew:
And now in the grass behold they are laid,
And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade.

The blackbird has fled to another retreat
Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat;
And the scene where his melody charm’d me before
Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.

My fugitive years are all hasting away,
And I must ere long lie lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast and a stone at my head,
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.

‘Tis a sight to engage me, if anything can,
To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;
Short-lived as we are, our enjoyments, I see,
Have a still shorter date, and die sooner than we.

— W. Cowper

SOLITUDE

Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground.

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire;
Whose trees in summer yield him shade
In winter, fire.

Blest, who can unconcern’dly find
Hours, days, and years, slide soft away
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,

Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix’d; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please
With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.

— A. POPE.

THE BOOK HUNTER

I’ve spent all my money in chasing
For books that are costly and rare;
I’ve made myself bankrupt in tracing
Each prize to its ultimate lair.
And now I’m a ruined collector,
Impoverished, ragged, and thin,
Reduced to a vanishing spectre,
Because of my prodigal sin.

How often I’ve called upon Foley,
The man who’s a friend of the cranks;
Knows books that are witty or holy,
And whether they’re prizes or blanks.
For volumes on paper or vellum
He has a most accurate eye,
And always is willing to sell ’em
To dreamers like me who will buy.

My purse requires fences and hedges,
Alas! it will never stay shut;
My coat-sleeves now have deckle edges,
My hair is unkempt and “uncut.”
My coat is a true first edition,
And rusty from shoulder to waist;
My trousers are out of condition,
Their “colophon” worn and defaced.

My shoes have been long out of fashion,
“Crushed leather” they both seem to be;
My hat is a thing for compassion,
The kind that is labelled “n. d.”
My vest from its binding is broken,
It’s what the French call a relique;
What I think of it cannot be spoken,
Its catalogue mark is “unique.”

I’m a book that is thumbed and untidy,
The only one left of the set;
I’m sure I was issued on Friday,
For fate is unkind to me yet.
My text has been cruelly garbled
By a destiny harder than flint;
But I wait for my grave to be “marbled,”
And then I shall be out of print.

— Arthur Macy

Related References

THERE CAME TO MY WINDOW

There came to my window one morning in Spring
A sweet little Robin; she came there to sing.
The tune that she sang, it was prettier far
Than any I heard on the flute or guitar.

Her wings she was spreading to soar far away,
Then resting a moment seemed sweetly to say:
“Oh happy, how happy the world seems to be!
Awake, Little Girl and be happy with me!”

But just as she finished her beautiful song,
A thoughtless young man with a gun came along.
He killed and he carried my sweet bird away,
She no more will sing at the dawn of the day.

— Anonymous